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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Yikes - It's Next Wednesday!

One week from today is Christmas Day.  I wonder how many of you reading this feel a similar twinge of panic as I do in writing it?  There is shopping to be done, parties to host and attend, pageants to perform, worship service to prepare, lead or attend, family and friends to visit, travel to make, and the list goes on...

I don't know about you but sometimes I get a little overwhelmed by Christmas.  Don't get me wrong.  I love it, I really do.  I love the decorating, socializing, and celebrating.  It's just there is so much in so short amount of time. Couldn't we spread it out a little more?

So in mid-week of the fourth week of Advent, my personal challenge is to take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy the procession of the season rather than rushing ahead and creating my own anxiety and panic.  After all, Jesus did say, "Don't worry about tomorrow because today is enough on it's own."

Yes, Christmas Day is one week from today.  Don't panic! Relax and enjoy the journey to Bethlehem!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Visitors

We decorated our Christmas tree a couple of days ago with the customary lights and ornaments.  Hanging the ornaments on the tree is always a time for us of remembering the people, places, and times  the individual ornaments represent in our lives.

There are ornaments from my childhood, some handmade by friends and family, ones given to commemorate each of our daughters' "first Christmases," several made by our daughters when they were children, and numerous elaborately jeweled ornaments made by my Aunt Clarice that were artistic expressions which began as therapy for a mental disorder.  There is the flying cardinal that is always among the first on the tree to remind us of Peg's father and how he loved Christmas.

For some of the ornaments we have forgotten their origins. Their significance lies in always being on our tree and bringing smiles to our faces.  Who knows, they may one day be memories to our daughters or others.

The Christmas Tree brings light into our home far beyond the tiny electric bulbs strung through its branches. It also lights our lives with the presence of people, places, and events who visit us this time of year bringing smiles, joy, comfort, and even sadness, all reminding us of the fullness of our lives.   Perhaps the Angel who is lastly and ceremoniously placed atop the tree reminds us that all of the ornaments are Angels in themselves.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


As we enter the time of year when numerous religious, spiritual, and cultural holiday celebrations occur, the annual discussion of "what do we call it?" has begun.  Do we say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Hanukkah" or "Happy/Merry/Joyous 'fill in the blank'", or do we simply try to include everything and everyone with "Happy Holidays?"

Even within our respective traditions there is consternation over what to call certain days and when to observe them.  For example in my Christian tradition, is it OK to sing Christmas Carols during Advent?  Do we dare speak of magi and a star before Epiphany?

Last Sunday night on the First Sunday of Advent there was a community gathering in the parking lot behind our church when we drank Yuletide wassail, sang Christmas Carols, and lit a "Christmas Star" atop the church while singing, "We Three Kings."  I think you can safely say we blurred numerous holiday and liturgical boundaries.

photo by Byron Buck

Last week, on White House Elipse the National Menorah was lit, and last night on the other side of the Capitol Building the Capitol Christmas Tree was lit,  later this the National Christmas Tree will be added to the Elipse.  Similar celebrations and ceremonies are taking place all over the country and the world.

My observation is this:  something wonderful takes place this time of year as we light trees and candles, and buildings and fences, and boats, and shrubs.  That "something" is a recognition and hopefully celebration of Light in our lives.

Look up!  Look around!  Look within!

Call it what you will - A HappyMerryJoyous season of Light is dawning!